Saturday, March 28, 2015

Blog Kiosk: 3/28/2015 - Dodger Links - Scully, League and Kike Hernandez

Did you enjoy an evening of the sweet sounds of Dodger Baseball with Vin Scully yesterday? 

Photo above taken yesterday afternoon by Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015.  Below are some links to check out:

"That's when I said, 'Well, I wonder where my spot is,'" Hernandez said. "I felt like that for a day or two, then I was like, 'Throughout my life or career I've never been handed anything. Stay positive, keep working toward the same goal.' Now, the way I see it, I've got a pretty good chance of making the team as a super-utility guy on Opening Day." 
  • Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, "Jaime Jarrin to receive National Leader Award."
  • The Cards that Never Were blog shares a fantastic 1969 Topps fantasy Baseball card of the National League Stolen Base Leaders that includes Lou Brock, Maury Wills as a Pirate and Willie Davis of the Dodgers.

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Spring Game 26 / Home Game 13

Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.  See what they've written below.

San Francisco Giants (6-19-1) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (13-6-6)
Friday, March 27, 2015 – 7:05 p.m. MT | Camelback Ranch

RHP Chris Heston (0-0, 2.00) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (1-0, 3.00)
TV: SNLA Radio: AM 570

(Dodger Stadium with new cut grass, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)

UNDER THE LIGHTS: The Dodgers, who have the Majors’ best spring winning percentage at .684, take on the Giants for the second time this spring after tying, 5-5, on March 9 in Scottsdale. The clubs will have one more exhibition matchup on Sunday in Scottsdale before opening their 19-game regular-season series on April 21 at AT&T Park. Los Angeles won the 2014 season series between the clubs, 10-9, and has been victorious in seven of its last nine game against the Giants.
  • Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will call tonight’s game from Camelback Ranch as he kicks off his unprecedented 66th season with the club. Scully will also call all three Freeway Series games next week.
  • Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman Don Newcombe will throw tonight’s ceremonial first pitch as he concludes his annual visit to Spring Training. Newcombe, who pitched in 10 big league seasons from 1949-60, was a four-time All-Star, 1949 Rookie of the Year and took home both the Cy Young and MVP Awards in 1956.

THOSE WINNING WAYS: The Dodgers won their third consecutive game yesterday, beating the White Sox, 9-6, at Camelback Ranch. Clayton Kershaw improved to 3-0 on the spring, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out eight in 6.0 dominant innings. The Dodger offense continued to click with 13 hits, including home runs by Yasiel Puig, Jimmy Rollins and Kik√© Hernandez. 
  • Puig has homered in three consecutive games and has four home runs in his last five games, batting .400 (6-for-15) with eight RBI since March 20. Overall, Puig is tied for second in the NL with five homers this spring.
  • Hernandez caught fire in San Antonio last weekend, hitting .429 (6-for-14) with four home runs and five RBI in his last six games since March 20.

FOLLOW THE LEADERS: The Dodgers raised their Major League-best home run total to 40 (eight more than the Cubs’ 32) with three more longballs yesterday and have a .286 team batting average (3rd, NL) with a .488 slugging percentage (2nd, NL) this spring.
  • Joc Pederson leads the NL with a .756 slugging percentage this spring and also ranks among the league leaders in batting average (.400, T-3rd), hits (18, T-1st), runs (11, T-3rd), total bases (34, 3rd), on-base percentage (.438, 8th) and home runs (4, T-4th).
  • Justin Turner has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games and is batting .486 with four doubles, three homers and eight RBI, while posting a .513 on-base percentage and a .857 slugging percentage in 14 Cactus League games.
(Zack Greinke, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)

ON THE MOUND: RHP Zack Greinke will make his fourth Cactus League start tonight, last pitching on Saturday against the Rangers in the Alamodome when he picked up the win and struck out six in 4.0 scoreless innings. Greinke won each of his five starts against the Giants last year, going 5-0 with a 1.59 ERA (6 ER/34.0 IP) and limiting San Francisco hitters to a .216 batting average (27-for-125) with 36 strikeouts.
  • LHP Paco Rodriguez is expected to make his eighth appearance of the spring tonight. Through seven Cactus League appearances, Rodriguez has tossed 7.0 scoreless innings, surrendering only three hits and striking out nine.
  • RHP Yimi Garcia is also expected to see action tonight. Garcia has held opposing hitters to a .138 batting average this spring, allowing only four hits in 8.1 scoreless innings.
  • Veteran RHP Mike Adams will make his fourth Cactus League appearance tonight. He tossed a scoreless inning in a Single-A game on Tuesday against the Brewers and last pitched in a big league game on Saturday, giving up two runs on two hits to the Rockies.
  • RHP David Aardsma will see action for the eighth time this spring. The veteran reliever has held opposing hitters to a .160 batting average, while striking out seven through 7.0 innings of work.
(Job Fair at Dodger Stadium, pic via @Dodgers on twitter)

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A Vintage Dodger and a Negro League Great Found at Love of the Game Auctions

I thought I would share a couple of cool items I ran into when I checked out the current offerings from "Love of the Game" auctions; including an old-tyme Dodger player and a fantastic postcard photo of one of the early great Cuban ballplayers.

Short and stout with a mustache that would make todays hipsters green with envy, Jim McTamany played three years for the Brooklyn Grays (this is the Dodgers, as they were once known) in the mid to late 1880's.  Born a Philadelphia kid, he was known for his defensive prowess in centerfield and soon became well regarded for his ability to get on-base.  Unfortunately, that later skill didn't come until after he played in Brooklyn. 

McTamany recorded over 100 walks for three straight seasons, and lead the league in runs scored and walks in 1890 as a member of the Columbus Solons of the American Association.  Soon thereafter, though, he disappeared from Major League parks.  His batting average quickly eroded til he finally left the game in 1894 at the age of 30. 

Featured above is a 1887 Old Judge N172 tobacco card of McTamany as a member of the Brooklyn Grays.  It is currently on auction at Love of the Game Auctions.  Check it out here.


The real photo postcard below is just fantastic.  It features Baseball Hall of Famer and Cuban great Jose Mendez in his Sunday best.  Check out the auction here.  I'll let the auction description tell you a little bit about who he was.
El Diamante Negro ("the Black Diamond") is a legend in his home country of Cuba, one of the players inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame's inaugural class in 1939.  Mendez rose to worldwide fame after throwing 25 consecutive shutout innings in three appearances against the Cincinnati Reds, including a one-hit complete game shutout.  Soon after, he pitched two more shutouts, racking up 43 consecutive scoreless innings.

An arm injury in 1914 caused Mendez to move to shortstop, where he played with the Detroit Stars and Chicago American Giants of the Negro Leagues, ultimately landing with the Kansas City Monarchs as player/manager, winning three consecutive pennants between 1923-25.  In the first Negro League World Series in 1924 against the Hilldale team, he appeared in four games, posting a 2-0 record including a shutout victory in the final game. 

No less a baseball mind than John McGraw called Mendez "sort of Walter Johnson and Grover Alexander rolled into one."
(Auction Link)

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Domingo Ayala's Spring Dodger Visit - (Video) Part 2 & 3

Domingo Ayala loves the Dodgers.  No doubt! 

And based on the below videos, the Dodgers love him too.

Domingo recently visited the team at Camelback Ranch and spent a bunch of time with several Dodger regulars.  Last week I shared some photos and Part 1 of his video hanging out with the "Boys in Blue."  Below are Part 2 and Part 3. 

Here is the description for Part 2, and take note that he got close and personal with Justin Turner.
In this episode he gets some swings in the cage with Justin Turner and a big league massage from Yosuke "Possum" Nakajima.

Video Link:

Here is Part 3. 
In this episode Domingo Ayala gets some work in with Gold Glove winner, Adrian Gonzalez. He also learns about the feared "Red Slip".

Video Link:

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Blog Kiosk: 3/27/2015 - Dodger Links - Scully, Time Warner and Alex Verdugo

Guess who's heading out to Arizona to broadcast tonight Spring game against the Giants.

Vin Scully, that's who.  For many Dodger fans his emergence from the winter hiatus to the glory of spring Baseball is the true start of the year.  He stories and voice are like the echoes of the Baseball Gods - providing assurances that all is right in the world. 

Vin Scully will call his first game tonight, and Dodger Nation will be glued to every word he says.  Unfortunately, that prior statement is far from true.  Much of the Southland is still restricted from access due to the incompetent machinations of the corporate class, and they fail to realize that their part in this mess only reinforces the general disgust consumers have towards the television delivery industry as a whole.  They are the epitome of the bad neighbor, and I look forward to the opportunity to leave them forever.  Please FCC, regulate them.  These behemoths do not deserve anything and they contribute nothing.

The wonderful vintage photo above of Vin Scully underneath his street sign at Dodgertown in Vero Beach was shared by @VinScullyTweet on twitter.  Below are some links to check out:
"Time Warner Cable has no plans to take a write-down in connection with its Dodgers contract," the company said late Tuesday in a statement.  "In fact, TWC does not carry an asset on its balance sheet related to the Dodgers and, therefore, there is no asset for it to write down now or in the future."
I'm not sure what that is suppose to mean. After all, it can't possibly be true that TWC doesn't account for the Dodger deal in some way.  Maybe not in terms an an actual balance sheet asset, but certainly a potential liability that has (by their own admonition) contributed greatly to rising programming expenses.  I'm far from an expert on corporate accounting, but I think there is a parsing of words here that wreaks of BS. 
“Obviously everyone is waiting to see what happens in the larger-scale corporate dealings. Failing that, I know there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, a lot of talk – but, no, I’m not aware of anything that’s going to bring about an imminent settlement. We hope and we keep working at it. But I don’t have any news.”
Verdugo stands out for several reasons. Not only will he be just 19 years old this season when he heads to Class-A Great Lakes, but he hit .353/.432/.511 across two levels after being drafted last summer. While Mitchell noted in his research that walks are less important in the lower level of the minors, it’s still an impressive feat that Verdugo walked more times (20) than he struck out (18) in his professional debut. He also flashed above-average speed for a prospect of his size, going a perfect 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts.
Like I’ve been saying, I’m just going to keep doing whatever it is I’m doing and making sure the guys I’m catching, I’m on the same page with. I think last year I did a pretty good job with those new guys that came up to the big leagues.”
“Yeah, I collected as a kid but not for value or anything like that.,” said the Houston Astros catcher-outfielder. “My room was actually wallpapered — I stapled cards to my walls. My entire room was completely covered in baseball cards. I loved it.”

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Vintage Dodger Straw Hat at Hunt Auctions - Would You Wear This?

I would definitely wear this.  Heck, I'd wear it so often I'd probably wear it out.

Featured here is said to be a circa 1960's Los Angeles Dodgers straw hat current for sale at Hunt Auctions.  Check it out here.

I can imagine it now.  I'd be sitting up on the Top Deck (or the Upper Reserve, as I like to call it) with a beer in one hand, a Dodger dog in another and this fashionably vintage hat to protect my quickly balding scalp. 

No doubt I'd be the envy of all who sat around me.  There'd be constant whispers and pointing until a brave soul finally built up the courage to ask me where I got it.  I could then remark, "It's vintage and might be the last of its kind."

I'd then sit back into my seat with a stupid smug smile.  My transformation into a full-on hipster would be complete.  Or maybe, I'd just get the hat to put on the top shelf of my ever-growing Dodger display.  Yeah, that would be the ticket.

On second thought, I would definitely wear it.  But I promise I won't have a '70's styled mustache or be wearing an Hawaiian shirt.  OK, maybe an Hawaiian shirt, but no mustache.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Spring Game 25 / Road Game 13

Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.  See what they've written below.

Los Angeles Dodgers (12-6-6) at Chicago White Sox (8-11-3)
Thursday, March 26, 2015 – 1:05 p.m. MT | Camelback Ranch

LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 2.03) vs. RHP Brad Penny (1-0, 4.63)

(Camelback Ranch, via Chris Williams on twitter)

NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN NEIGHBOR: The Dodgers, who have the Majors’ best spring winning percentage at .667, take on the Chicago White Sox today for the third and final time this spring. The two clubs kicked off the Cactus League schedule on March 4 and 5, splitting the pair of games, a 6-4 Dodger loss in the opener and a 6-1 victory the next day. In just 11 days, the Dodgers will take on the Padres April 6 - Opening Day at Dodger Stadium.

THOSE WINNING WAYS: The Dodgers flexed their muscles in a 9-5 victory over the San Diego Padres yesterday at Camelback Ranch, hitting four home runs and three doubles in the contest. Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson each hit their team-lead tying fourth homers of the spring while Justin Turner cracked his third and Scott Van Slyke his second. On the mound, Juan Nicasio allowed two runs in 3.0 innings for the victory while J.P. Howell (1.0 IP), David Aardsma (1.0), Paco Rodriguez (1.0) and Yimi Garcia (1.0) all tossed scoreless relief. Rodriguez (7.0 IP) and Garcia (8.1) have not allowed a run all spring. 
  • The four home runs give the Dodgers 37 this spring, which leads the Major Leagues. The Cubs are the next closest at 30.
(Puig's HR, via Dodgers on tumblr)

ALL ABOARD: Today the Dodgers announced that the Dodger Stadium Express will return in 2015! LA Metro offers two express services to Dodger Stadium:  The Dodger Stadium Express Union Station and the Dodger Stadium Express South Bay are complimentary services from downtown Los Angeles and the South Bay directly to Dodger Stadium. The Dodger Stadium Express Union Station bus service includes the benefit of enjoying a dedicated bus lane on Sunset Boulevard from Union Station to Elysian Park Ave.  Dodger game-day tickets will be honored as payment to ride the bus service and it will operate 90 minutes before the game and 45 minutes after the game.  Fans can also park at Union Station for $6 and take the Dodger Stadium Express free with a game ticket. For specific route and schedule information, fans can visit or call 323.GO.METRO
  • The club will also be adding dedicated prepaid lanes for fans purchasing parking passes in advance for games during the 2015 season. Fans should follow the signage to these designated auto booths at all gates for the dedicated prepaid lanes. To enjoy these dedicated prepaid lanes, the Dodgers encourage fans to purchase their parking in advance to assist in traffic flow and expedite movement through the auto gates. Advance parking prices are $10 and parking at the gate is $20.  The Dodgers also will offer premium parking in advance at $35 and $50 at the gate.  To purchase parking in advance, visit

THEY SAY IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY: The Dodgers would like to wish a very happy birthday to former infielder and current Special Assistant, Player Personnel Jose Vizcaino. “Vizzy” joined the Dodger front office after retiring as a player in 2006 and, in his playing days, spent his first two years in Los Angeles (1989-90) before joining the squad again from 1998-2000. Vizcaino’s career spanned 18 seasons and he played for the Dodgers (1989-90, 1998-2000), Cubs (1991-93), Mets (1994-96), Indians (1996), Giants (1997, 2006), Yankees (2000), Astros (2001-05) and Cardinals (2006). 
(Pederson's HR, via Dodgers on tumblr)

THE YOUNG BUCK: Joc Pederson has posted a .409/.447/.773 slashline this spring and ranks among the NL leaders in runs (11, T-1st), hits (18, 2nd), batting average (.409, 3rd), total bases (34, 2nd), on-base percentage (.447, T-8th) and slugging percentage (.773, 1st).
  • Justin Turner went 2-for-3 with a homer and two runs scored yesterday and is batting .486 with four doubles, three homers and eight RBI, while posting a .513 on-base percentage and a .857 slugging percentage in 14 Cactus League games.
  • Second baseman Howie Kendrick went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI yesterday and is now hitting .405 this spring to go along with five doubles and eight RBI. Kendrick is career .297 hitter in the month of April and has hit more homers (19) in the season’s first month than any other. 

ON THE MOUND: LHP Clayton Kershaw will make his fifth Cactus League start today. Kershaw has allowed three runs on 10 hits through 13.1 innings so far this spring. He last pitched on Friday against the Athletics, when he was struck by a line drive, chipping one of his teeth. He stayed in the game and finished with four strikeouts through 5.0 innings of work.
  • Hard-throwing RHP Joel Peralta is expected to make his fifth appearance of the spring today. Through four Cactus League appearances, Peralta has tossed 4.0 innings, surrendering two runs on three hits and striking out four.
  • RHP Pedro Baez is also expected to see action today. Baez has held opposing hitters to a .086 batting average this spring, allowing only four hits in 6.2 innings.
  • RHP Chris Hatcher will make his seventh Cactus League appearance today. Hatcher has allowed six runs through 5.1 innings this spring.
(Camelback Ranch, via @Dodgers on twitter)

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MLB15 Video: Puig Says Sorry for Not Playing the Game Right

MLB 15 is around the corner, so why not release another promotional video featuring cover boy Yasiel Puig.  Watch it below. 

This time we get a more personal look at the man... The myth... The legend.  He speaks a bit about Cuba and the family and friends he left behind.  Even more interestingly, he apologizes to the critics who are irked by him - for whatever reason.  Puig says:
To the people who say, I'm not playing the game the right way...

All I can tell them is...

I'm Sorry...

I don't know how you want me to play Baseball...

This is the way that I play
This whole thing is a bit "tongue and cheek," so it's unlikely to assuage any of the furor that always seems to surround him. 

Watch the entire video below.

Video Link:

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Blog Kiosk: 3/26/2015 - Dodger Links - Puig, Olivera and Crawford's Reality TV Show

Yasiel Puig had a big day yesterday.  He made a heads-up fielding play in the 1st inning to get an out and walloped a massive two-run home run soon thereafter that went out of the stadium to left field.  Watch it here.

I wonder if the recent announcement of the Dodgers signing Hector Olivera got him excited.  As reported by Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times, Puig knows Olivera very well. 
"His father was my hitting coach," Puig explained in Spanish.
Puig says further.
"He was a tremendous influence on me."
The photo above was posted by the Dodgers on twitter.  Below are some more links to check out:
The Los Angeles Dodgers, worth $2.4 billion, are the second most valuable three years after Guggenheim Baseball Management bought the team and Dodger Stadium for $2 billion from Frank McCourt. The Dodgers raked in more than $120 million in television money last season, the the most in baseball, as part of  the team’s 25 year, $8.35 billion deal with Time Warner Cable. The team also lead MLB in attendance, with 3.78 million fans coming through the turnstiles during the regular season.
  • I really dislike reality television.  Via TMZ, Evelyn Lozada, along with fiancee Carl Crawford, will star in a new reality television show on Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network.
So far, no word if any of Crawford's L.A. Dodgers teammates are scheduled to appear on the show ... but with attention-loving stars like Yasiel Puig on the Blue Crew ... we wouldn't rule it out.
Oy Vey!
“I think if it was serious I wouldn’t be able to pick up a ball,” League said. “It’s not painful, it’s just hindering. I know my body pretty well and I don’t think this is anything serious.”

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    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    2015 Topps Garbage Pail Kids - A Mike Piazza Autograph Card

    Here's a set I didn't expect to write anything about.  Several weeks back Topps released their 2015 Garbage Pail Kids card set, and as promised Baseball plays a prominent part.  Check out pics of some of the base and insert cards at the very bottom of this post.  A complete checklist is here.  

    Unbeknownst to just about everyone, several actual ballplayers can also be found in the set.  Topps has included at least four different autographed cards, and former Dodger Mike Piazza is included.  The other known players include Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado and Joey Votto (Check those out here).

    As you'll notice there are no team logos since this set was released without the benefit of Topps' MLB license. 

    Mike Piazza

    Below are some of the base and insert Baseball themed cards found in the set.

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